By: Will Burchfield

At head coach and offensive coordinator, the Lions appear squared away in 2018.

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But defensive coordinator remains a question mark since Teryl Austin departed for the Bengals.

On Thursday the first target emerged for Austin’s replacement, per NFL Network: Paul Pasqualoni. Currently the defensive line coach at Boston College, Pasqualoni was the head coach at Syracuse when Matt Patricia was an offensive graduate assistant there in the early 2000s.

Patricia is set to become the Lions’ head coach after the Super Bowl.

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Pasqualoni, 68, has coached for four NFL teams, twice serving as defensive coordinator: 2008-09 for the Dolphins and 2010 for the Cowboys. His most recent NFL stint came as the defensive line coach for the Texans in 2015.

Per NFL Network, Pasqualoni’s “name was buzzing” at the Senior Bowl this week in Mobile, Ala. given his connection to Patricia. The two are expected to discuss a “senior position” on the Lions’ staff once the team officially hires Patricia.

Detroit’s defense finished 21st in points against and 27th in yards against in 2017. Patricia, a bright defensive mind, is expected to fully revamp the coaching staff on that side of the ball.

As of Thursday afternoon, the team’s website only lists two defensive coaches: Steven Williams (defensive quality control) and George Godsey (defensive assistant — special projects).

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It’s expected that Patricia will retain offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter.